Kandahar, Afghanistan – 37 people were killed and at least 70 others injured in an explosion at a mosque in southern Afghanistan during Friday prayers, officials said, as the country continued to hit a Shia place of worship on Friday. second attack.
The attack, which eyewitnesses said involved several explosions, took place in the city of Kandahar – considered the heart of the re-established Taliban government. And although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the blasts, Islamic State said it was behind a similar strike on October 8 on a Shia mosque in Kunduz province in the northern part of the country, which killed more than 40 people. Had gone.
Shams Samim, a Taliban official in charge of the culture and information media section in Kandahar, said 37 people were killed and at least 70 wounded in the latest attack.
Eyewitnesses described a bloody scene in the mosque.
“We don’t know whether it was a suicide bomber or an IED – but it was powerful, human flesh and blood was seen around the mosque,” said Muhammad Ali, who was at the mosque on Friday, referring to an immediate improvement. Explosive devices.
Mr Ali said the Taliban arrived soon after the attack and laid siege to the area. His ability to provide security to rebel-turned-ruler Afghan civilians after the fall of a Western-backed government in August has been highlighted.
But that pledge has become harder to keep as Taliban fighters are now responsible for securing key urban centers such as Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city, and the country’s capital, Kabul.
The Islamic State Khorasan, also known as ISIS-K, has long been present in the east of Afghanistan, but has rarely attacked in the south of the country.
If the attack was indeed carried out by the terrorist group, it would represent a significant demonstration of Islamic State’s newly established reach as it begins its re-energized campaign of violence against the people of Afghanistan.
ISIS-K is a Sunni extremist group that has long targeted Shia Muslims in Afghanistan, focusing heavily on the Hazara ethnic minority, just like it did in the Kunduz attack last week.
Taimur Shahi reported from Kandahar, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff from Kabul.